1:2 “I will sweep away everything from the face of the earth,” “When I destroy all mankind on the face of the earth,” declares the Lord.
1:17 “I will bring such distress on all people that they will grope about like those who are blind, because they have sinned against the Lord. Their blood will be poured out like dust and their entrails like dung.
Uuuuuggggggggggghhhhhhhh are we still not done with this shit yet!!?? How many books have I been reading now that are the same. damn. story. over and over and over again? I’m starting to feel like …
Have I already used this analogy before? I honestly could have used it 10 times by now for all I know because THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IT’S FREAKING GROUNDHOG DAY EVERY DAY.
You may recall that I referred to the book of Micah as the prophet book equivalent of vanilla ice cream – as in, nothing interesting to make it stand out. Just the standard outline of pissed off God, threatening his people (and/or neighboring lands), and then promising to restore Israel/Jerusalem eventually. But then I remembered that at the very least, Micah did have a supposed prophecy about Jesus in it. Micah may have been mostly bland, but now Zephaniah has stepped into the picture to take his rightful crown as the queen of basic bitches. Zephaniah really honestly does not have jack squat in it other than the standard script. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
Here we go again: God’s pissed off because his people are disobeying his rules, being dishonest and arrogant. God is jealous because his people are worshiping other gods like Baal and Molek. God is going to destroy his people and their surrounding nations because no matter how much he yells at them (via his prophets), they just refuse to listen. But in the end, after he destroys everyone and puts them under the rule and enslavement of foreign nations, God will restore his people and make everything great for them again. And then they can even get revenge on the nations that destroyed and oppressed them (at God’s hand).
I should probably point out the timeframe of Zephaniah, not that it really matters all that much: The first line of the book is, “1:1 The word of the Lord that came to Zephaniah son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, during the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah.” This would make him a contemporary of the prophet Jeremiah. Or at least, there would have been some overlap. The timeframe only matters here in terms of what types of calamities were befalling the people of Judah at this particular time, and this was in the time period leading into Babylon attacking and eventually defeating Judah.
The thing I’m realizing I’m confused about here though, is that this book acts like the rulers at the time were terrible people, helping to drive the bad behavior of the people of Judah. But in my notes, I have King Josiah marked as A-OK by God. My chart of kings says that Josiah repaired and rebuilt the Lord’s temple, and that God promised he’d wait till after Josiah’s death to destroy Judah. I’m too lazy to go back and re-read 2nd Kings to examine where this badness described in Zephaniah may have come from, but Wikipedia does speculate that Zephaniah may have been “active prior to the religious reforms of King Josiah which are described in 2 Kings 23. These reforms took place in 622 BC. Scholars also cite the reference to ‘the officials and the king’s sons . . .’ in 1:8 as evidence that the kingdom was still ruled by a regent for Josiah.” So maybe that’s what’s going on here – maybe Josiah simply hadn’t cracked God’s whip on the people just yet. Who knows.
If there’s anything about Zephaniah that stands out to me as compared to the other prophet books – and trust me, I’m really reaching here – it’s the descriptions of how God intends to weed out the good people from the bad, when he enacts his punishment on Israel and several of its surrounding nations:
3:11 On that day you, Jerusalem, will not be put to shame for all the wrongs you have done to me, because I will remove from you your arrogant boasters. Never again will you be haughty on my holy hill. 3:12 But I will leave within you the meek and humble. The remnant of Israel will trust in the name of the Lord. 3:13 They will do no wrong; they will tell no lies. A deceitful tongue will not be found in their mouths. They will eat and lie down and no one will make them afraid.”
3:18 “I will remove from you all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals, which is a burden and reproach for you.
And … that’s pretty much it. That’s all that’s really worth mentioning from Zephaniah. Like many of these other minor prophet books, it’s not worth making a Good Stuff and Bad Stuff section for this one, because there really is no good stuff. Sure, it’s good that God favors the meek and humble, but again, the way he chooses to do all this is … effed up. To say the least.
Next up, Haggai. Only 2 chapters! But I’m not gonna waste time doing a happy dance about that, because while there are only 3 books left in the Old Testament (yay!), the second-to-last one is 14 chapters. BOO! I know that’s short compared to most of the OT books, but it’s long compared to a lot of the minor prophet books, and of course they put the long one practically right at the end. Figures. See ya on the next one!